It is very apparent that Michigan and the rest of the nation are in a very serious economic state. Individuals of every demographic are struggling with the stagnant economy and increased loss of jobs. Governor Granholm has made it obvious in the 2009 State of the State Address that Lansing's legislators will be doing all that they can to protect the Michigan family. The Michigan family is bombarded with the threats of unemployment and home foreclosures that loom over them at this time. One of the three most important objectives that the Governor laid out was "protecting our families during the worst economic conditions in more than a century."
Granholm discussed the reforms that have been proposed with the justice system that should decrease these costs in order to allow for spending in other areas. She stated that Michigan will be closing three prison facilities soon, on top of the nine that have already been closed.
Governor Granholm proposed five distinct measures that will be taken to protect Michigan families.
1. Asked Michigan's universities and colleges to freeze tuition rates as to keep college as affordable as possible during this economic crisis. This is an attempt to get more kids to attend college.
2. Requested that the Legislature passes the Home Foreclosure Prevention Act (text of the bill), which gives families an extended period of 90 days to work out financing problems with their homes to avoid the threat of foreclosure.
3. Asked the Public Service Commission to ban utility shut-offs for the rest of the winter for seniors, people with disabilities and low- or no-income households. This was introduced to reduce the dangerous risks that face those who have had their utilities shut off, such as death.
4. Asked for the freezing of rates of auto insurance companies for 12 months while the Legislature works out reforms. Michigan has one of the most expensive insurance rates in the nation and this must be reformed in order to provide affordable insurance to our citizens.
5. Continue to protect the health care safety net in Michigan by the following actions.
a. Congress has reauthorized State Children's Health Insurance Program (Health Care Policy Fellow's summary of this program)
b. Plans to identify options to provide more affordable health care.
c. Focus on the health of our children (i.e. obesity rates).
All in all, Governor Granholm has set up an extensive agenda that will hopefully work to protect the state of the Michigan family. It proposes changes that will help with continuing education, preventing home foreclosures, making certain necessities more available for families, and improving the health care system.
State of the State Address. Jennifor Granholm: Governor, State of Michigan. Priorities for Michigan's Economic Future: Jobs, Education, and Protecting Families. 3 February 2009. State Capitol: Lansing, Michigan.